Allamakee co. IAGenWeb

Chapter 15
Past & Present of Allamakee County, 1913

County Schools - School Townships - Independant Districts - Summary


County Schools (page 181-185)

It would naturally be expected in a state so devoted to its public school system as was our own state from its beginnings, that in a county like ours, largely settled from New England and other parts of the East where the free school privileges were most highly prized, an effort would be early made for the attainment of similar privileges for the families of the pioneers. And so it was, that as soon as the log cabin was provided for shelter, and the first essentials of a habitation supplied, the parents looked about for other families, the nearest perhaps some miles away, with whom to unite in setting up a neighborhood school, that their young children might not be deprived of the rudiments of an education.

To the founders of Postville belongs the honor, it is believed, of opening the first school in the county (aside from the Old Mission), in the house of Mr. And Mrs. Post, in the summer of 1848. The first schoolhouse was built near Hardin in 1849. In the central portion of the county the first school was undoubtedly that taught by L.W. Hersey, in 1853, in a log cabin built by Deacon Azel Pratt for a dwelling in the fall of 1850. The first school in Lansing was in 1850 or '51. The first in Waukon in the winter of 1854-5, taught by L. O. Hatch. Quite early in the fifties, Reuben Smith built a small schoolhouse on his place on Yellow river, and employed a teacher to instruct his children, probably admitting those of his neighbors to the benefit of the school also.
The first public school in Smith's district was taught by C. T. Granger in the winter of 1854-5. He became the honored chief justice of the supreme court of Iowa; and still retains his residence in Waukon, though spending much of his time of late years in California.

More complete history of the principal schools of the county will be found in the chapters relating to the various towns.

The improvement of educational conditions by means of associations of teachers and school officers was given early attention. The first official mention of teachers' institutes in the educational records of Iowa, occurs in the annual report of Hon. Thomas H. Benton, Jr., superintendent of public instruction, December 2, 1850.

In March, 1858, an act was passed authorizing the holding of teachers institutes for periods of not less than six working days, whenever not less than thirty teachers should desire. The office of county superintendent was created this year, and he was authorized to expend not to exceed $100 for any one institute, for teachers and lecturers. The first institute in Allamakee county was held at Waukon in September, 1860, R. C. Armstrong being county superintendent at the time. And since 1868 the record of annual institutes is complete.

In addition to the official institutes a teachers' association was kept up for a number of years, "designed to aid in carrying out the object of the state law requiring county institutes to be held, and to make the same profitable to all," and to this end it solicited the county superintendent to use as many evenings as possible for lectures on subjects connected with county schools.

A county association of this character was organized at Waukon, April 24, 1869, with the following

  President: J. H. Hazleton, Lansing

Vice Presidents: A. M. May, Waukon; Anna W. Robinson, Makee; S. S. Robinson, Jefferson; H. Booth, Franklin; L. Jackson, Taylor; F. W. Sencebaugh, Paint Creek; Jennie Grattan, Ludlow; Mrs. Reed, Post; Catherine Tovey, Union Prairie; H. R. Andrews, Lafayette; L. P. Stillman, Center; Harvey Miner, Fairview; S. H. Butts, Linton; Rosa Schott, Waterloo; Amelia Wolcott, Lansing; M. Agnes
Ratcliffe, Iowa.

Secretary: Hattie C. Keeler, Postville

Treasurer: DeEtte Clark, Waukon

Executive Committee: President and secretary, ex-officio; and Geo. M. Darling, Lansing; A. J. Miller, Rossville; Miss Mary E. Post, Ion.

Other Members were: Flora Peck, Katie St. Cyr, Mary E. Johnson, Eva McLenahan, Zetta E. Crouch, Dell Huffman, Dora E. Clark, Malinda Marietta, Emma M. Newell, Ella M. Hayward, Emma A. Spaulding, W. P. Dodds,
Emma E. Hayward, Emma Able, Rachel E. Hall.

For purposes of comparison of school conditions in the county at three different periods, we have with the assistance of County Superintendent Peck prepared the following statement:

  1873 1881 1912
Value of school houses ..................................... $75,285.00 $82,741.00 $154,625.00
Value of apparatus ............................................ ........................... $1,204.00 $10,378.00
Volumes in libraries .......................................... ........................... 19 9,895
No. of persons between 5 and 21.................... 7,511 7,250 5,640
Number enrolled ................................................ 5,502 5,413 3,980
Average cost of tuition per month, per pupil ... $0.72 $1.40 $2.43
Amount paid teachers ...................................... $26,111.97 $28,023.12 $53,477.66
Paid for fuel, rent, etc ........................................ $6,452.09 $6,754.32 $11,547.55
Paid for secretaries and treasurers ................ $793.37 $968.50 $1,352.01
Number of school houses:      


(1877) 22

(1873) 117


Average compensation of teachers per month:      

No fair comparison can be made of the teachers' certificates issued in these periods, owing to the different methods of classification from time to time. It is safe to say, however, that the standard of qualification has kept pace with the increase of salaries paid, until now the requirements of the rural teacher are far greater than they formerly were. For the years ending in October, 1881, there were 258 certificates issued as follows: Professional, 5; first class, 36; second class, 70; third class, 110.

During the past year there were 201 issued, as follows: First grade, 9; second grade, 96; third grade, 43; provisional, 52; special certificates, 1.

The enumeration of 1912, and enrollment, are given as follows:


  Enumeration Enrollment
Center 234 172
Fairview 97 75
Franklin 210 164
French Creek 174 147
Hanover 122 84
Iowa 136 89
Jefferson 223 212
LInton 203 138
Ludlow 227 189


  Enumeration Enrollment
Capoli No. 1 14 7
Capoli, No. 2 14 9
Village Creek 41 20
Prairie 33 23
Mound City 20 18
Climax 19 14
Wexford 34 27
Russell 36 23
Lafayette Center 41 31
Lafayette No. 2 27 23
Three Corners 44 24
Lansing No. 1 517 276
Lansing No. 2 35 18
Lansing No. 3 65 45
Lansing No. 4 35 25
Lansing No. 5 29 19
Lansing No. 6 21 19
Lycurgus 64 48
Howard 17 17
Makee 38 18
Paulk 12 12
Hanson 42 24
Fan 48 15
Elk 24 18
Waukon 622 406
Storla 28 24
Ness 51 30
Cross Roads 23 18
Waterville 55 47
Paint 29 23
Cherry Mound 24 24
Dahl 30 25
North West 30 12
Evergreen 33 24
Lybrand 26 18
West Grove 33 25
Minert 25 10
Woodland 14 12
Myron 21 18
Empire 38 18
HIghland 34 35
South Grove 20 9
Postville 333 262
Hardin (joint district, part in Clayton Co.) 21 25
Monona (joint district, record in Clayton Co.) 11  
New Albin 220 161
LIttle Paint 14 12
St. Joseph 26 23
Harper's Ferry 142 114
Excelsior 17 14
Spring Brook 23 15
Paint Rock 67 32
Wheatland 45 25
Harmony 42 30
English Bench 30 23
Clear Creek 31 23
Union 33 21
Columbus 25 15
Eells 38 15
Union Prairie No. 2 30 25
Pleasant Ridge 25 30
South West 28 20
Helming 34 22
Union Prairie No. 6 30 26
Emmett 24 16
Iowa River 21 26
Dorchester 79 60
New Galena 31 26
Bear Creek 34 19
Washington 24 14
Waterloo Ridge 50 29
Bergen 51 40

Upon request, County Superintendent Peck has kindly contributed the following interesting items relating to the present conditions, which indicate a gratifying progressiveness in the educational interests of the county:

Allamakee county is composed of eighteen townships, nine of which are divided into sixty-three independent school districts and nine into school townships containing sixty sub-districts.

Ludlow township in 1911 erected a modern school building in district No. 8 and at the spring election, 1913, the people of the same township voted to erect a similar building in district No. 7.

Franklin township in 1912 built two modern schoolhouses in districts Nos. 4 and 11. Waterville at the spring election in 1913 voted $2,000 for the erection of a two-room school building.

A number of schools in the county have installed the Smith or Waterbury-Waterman systems of heating and ventilation.

Lansing, Waukon and Postville have fully accredited high schools. New Albin about eleven grades, and Harper's Ferry, ten.

The St. Patrick's Parochial school, located at Waukon, besides doing eleventh grade work, offers a normal and business course. This school supplies many teachers for the rural schools.

The Immaculate Conception School, under the direction of Franciscan Nuns, is located at Lansing.

An attempt has been made to grade the rural schools of the county and encourage the pupils to remain in school until they have completed the eighth grade and then attend some high school. Pupils who pass the eighth grade examination in the rural schools are given a certificate admitting them to their nearest high school and the local district must pay their tuition for four years.

Two examinations are given each year to eighth grade pupils who care to write for a diploma. In 1907, 30 diplomas were granted; in 1908, 72; in 1909, 115;in 1910, 131; in 1911,131; in 1912. 108.

The average compensation paid female teachers per month in 1906-97 was $31.01, and in 1911-12 was $38.58. The average compensation paid males per month for the same years was $62.89 and $72.49, respectively.

A spelling contest is held in 1910-11-12 and teachers were asked to make exhibits of work actually done in the schools or the products of the industry of the school boys and girls in the home, on the farm or in the shop.

A school field day was held in connection with the fairs. About two thousand people attended each fair and viewed the exhibits. It brought patrons, pupils and teachers together and I believe has increased the interest in school matters.

Individual drinking cups have been placed in over one-half of the schools.

A professional teachers' library was started in 1907 by small contributions of the teachers, and 141 teachers have joined. The books are kept in the office of the county superintendent and a record kept of the books read.

Agriculture has been introduced by teaches using some text on the subject as a supplementary reader.

SUMMARY OF THE ANNUAL REPORT, 1911-12 (page 186)

Value of schoolhouses
Value of apparatus
Volumes in libraries
Number of person between the ages of 5 and 21
Number enrolled in each corporation
Average cost of tuition per month per pupil
Amount paid teachers
Paid for fuel, rent, etc
Paid for secretaries and treasurers

W. L. Peck,
County Superintendent

Waukon, March 27, 1913


~transcribed by Lisa Henry (181-185) & Diana Diedrick (page 186)

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